Jaylen Brown Sends a Message to Max Strus, Cavaliers Ahead of Game 5

Jaylen Brown opens up about tussle with Max Strus, Cavs' defense.
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four
Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

Scoring 16 of his 27 points in the second half of the Boston Celtics' 109-102 Game 4 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jaylen Brown is a big reason why the Celtics have a 3-1 lead in its Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Brown, who finished 9-for-15 from the floor, got tangled up with Cavs shooter Max Strus after converting a layup in the second quarter. Strus' foot made contact with Brown's head before Jaylen grabbed Max's foot as Strus was making his way back up the floor.

The officials ruled the play a common foul — a decision that wasn't well-received by Cavs fans at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, clamoring for a potential Flagrant-1 as the play in question was shown repeatedly on the jumbotron while under review. After the ruling, Brown was booed.

Then, Cavs fans spent the night booing Jaylen every time he touched the ball. After the game, Brown was asked about the adversity of playing through such treatment before providing his explanation to what happened between him and Strus.

"I embrace it," Brown said when asked about the crowd. "I drove to the basket, felt like there was some contact, finished the play, landed on the ground, and I felt like somebody was kicking me in the back of the head. I feel like I have the right to remove, or at least, try to protect that. I wasn't trying to do anything there; I wasn't trying to trip anybody up. But, at the same time, you're not about to just kick me in the head. It is what it is. I think they made the right call, and we moved on."

Jayson Tatum finished with a game-high 33 points, the All-Star tandem combined for 60 points, countering a Donovan Mitchell-less Cavs team that connected on 11 of their 15 threes in the first half. Strus (15 points) finished with five from deep, Darius Garland notched a team-high 30 points, and Evan Mobley added 19 points and nine rebounds.

Brown's shooting efficiency throughout the Celtics' series against the Cavs has been some of the most impressive playoff-shooting stretches of Jaylen's career. After turning in his most-efficient performance in the series in Game 3, where Brown made a whopping 76.5 percent (13-of-17) of his shots en route to 28 points, Jaylen followed it up with another impressive outing, and made a bold statement in regards to the Cavs' defense.

"Me being aggressive, I don't think anybody over there can really guard me," Brown said after Game 4. "I just get into the paint, take my time, and I feel like that's what I've been doing, not just in the playoffs, but all season long. So, I just get to my spots, and I just do what I do."

The Celtics will look to wrap up their best-of-7 series against the Cavs in Game 5 on Wednesday.

The betting markets are calling for that one being a bloodbath, with Brown and the C's sitting as massive 15.5-point favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook.

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